Freehold sales

If you would like to collectively purchase the freehold of your block there are two ways you can do this:

  • the legal right (also known as statutory enfranchisement)
  • the discretionary scheme (if you don’t qualify for the legal right).

Legal right

To qualify for the legal right, leaseholders and buildings need to meet the following criteria:

  • the building must be self-contained, and have at least two flats in it
  • at least two thirds of the flats in the building must be sold
  • at least half the number of flats in the building must take part in the purchase
  • where there are only two flats in the building, both leaseholders must participate
  • no more than 25% of the building can be for non-residential use (for example, shops)
  • if you or another leaseholder own more than two flats in a building, you can't participate.

If you want to collectively buy via the legal right, the participating leaseholders first need to serve us a procedural notice, usually through a solicitor. The procedural notice would include the price you all propose to pay for the freehold, which should be based on a professional valuation. If we agree that you have the right to buy the freehold, we will arrange our own valuation of the freehold. Once the terms are agreed, the sale can proceed.

We would take the leases on for any of the flats in the building that have not been sold.

You will have to pay our costs, even if the sale does not go through.

If you do meet the above criteria you can apply to purchase under the Council’s discretionary scheme.

Discretionary freehold purchase

If you do not qualify for the legal right to buy the freehold because less than two thirds of the flats in your building have been sold, you may be able to apply to buy the freehold under Westminster's discretionary freehold purchase scheme.

The main differences in qualification are:

  • at least half the flats in the building must be sold
  • all the leaseholders must agree to the sale (even if they do not want to take part in the purchase)
  • the majority of tenants must agree to the sale
  • where there are only two flats in the building, one leaseholder could apply to buy
  • the council must agree to the sale.

The application process is different too as:

  • you apply in writing to us, asking to buy the freehold. The application must be signed by all the leaseholders who want to take part in the purchase 
  • we ask the tenants, and any leaseholders who do not want to take part in the purchase, for their views
  • if enough people agree, we arrange for the freehold to be valued, and send you an offer of sale.

You will have to pay our costs, even if the sale does not go through.

This is a discretionary scheme and it is unlikely that we will agree to sell the freehold if there are any factors which could complicate the sale.

Advantages of buying your freehold

There are numerous benefits to buying the freehold of your property, including:

  • the ability to organise works to the building yourselves
  • the ability to extend your own leases at low cost
  • possible lower service charges
  • an increase in the saleability, and possibly the value, of your homes.

As a freehold owner your responsibilities include:

  • managing the day-to-day running of the building
  • organising general maintenance
  • arranging for major works to be carried out
  • collecting service charges
  • insuring the building.

For further information about freehold sales, visit the Leasehold Advisory Services website.